So I caught the live news coverage as it unfolded a week ago Sunday night, as we learned that Osama bin Laden was shot by a team of Navy SEALS. I guess people with better internet connections learned it beforehand, but I got screwed by work and was busy all day, so I watched and speculated along with the rest of the 20th century hosers as NBC first played their “breaking news” intro (which doesn’t mean much, as I’m jaded by them cutting into regularly scheduled broadcasts regularly), then Brian Williams said it had to do with OBL (ears perked up), then the kill was confirmed, then Barack Obama finally finished his speech and delivered it after suitable build-up.
I thought the flash mobs immediately following appropriate, but the cheering, flag waving, and “U.S.A.” chanting eerily reminiscent of effigy-burning “anti-US” demonstrations in the Middle East. I subscribe to the line of thought behind the Dalai Lama’s response.
With hindsight 20/20, Obama’s direction and handling of the situation was superb. As the talking heads have already talked to death, the predator drone attack would have been the easier, less risky path to take — but less rewarding, as we now know a “small college library” amount of intelligence was collected from OBL’s compound.
I saw talking heads compliment “both past presidents” on Meet the Press this morning, for changes to the intelligence community that allowed this success to take place. Concurrently, I’ve been catching up on a past (pre-OBL demise) Time article which followed FBI Director Robert Mueller. It’s occurred to me that George W. Bush likely did not have much to do with the changing intelligence landscape (other than following other’s recommendations regarding the appointments of new people); while Obama had an obvious, tangible role in getting OBL. But that’s just the partisan in me talking.
There’s not much substance to this post, other than that I’ve kept this blog alive for this long and I would feel remiss to pass this story by without giving my two cents.
I’ll have additional cents to come, if not on this topic, on others.
Two weeks ago I decided to give Google Analytics another try. It’s changed quite a bit since I originally set up my account, and it’s all for the better. After getting some data to parse, I have to say it’s one of the better site trackers I’ve used.
Unfortunately, the picture it paints is dreary. The average visit time is just a hair over one minute, and more than 80% of visitors view one page and then leave. 90% of visitors are new, which seems nice, but the largest draw continues to be two posts that I made about “Real Dolls” from a couple years ago.
As I’ve lamented before, the site is being pulled in a hundred directions, and it’s impacting readability and quality. Divvying up the posts from here onto multiple sites would take ages, and I like being able to access everyone from a single back-end.
So I’m going to renew my efforts of creating multiple front-ends for the categories. Mostly, I want to separate the “motoring,” “politics,” and “health” categories into their own mini sites.
We’ll see how it plays out.
So while “vacationing” in State College, PA last week, on a whim I had my mother test my blood sugar after the b-day cake. It was astronomical. Test again later: same. Test after ‘fasting’ in the morning, still high. Make an appointment for the croaker. I go in today. Yup. I’m diabetic as fuck. (Best way I can think to describe it.)
Fill the script ($4 for a month’s courtesy Wal-Mart). Pop a pill. Bring home a pile of “information” (thinly veiled adverts for the drug companies). Do some googling. There’s a lot of information out there, most of it conflicting. Anyways, tested before dinner and got a good reading after only one pill (500mg Metformin for the win!).
I’m not especially concerned. I’m getting pumped about turning over a leaf diet- and exercise-wise, and don’t have very far to go. Loose a few pounds, eat a bit healthier. Should be manageable. Every single blood relative on my mother’s side is or was diabetic â€“ can’t say it’s a surprise. PITA, sure.
But don’t expect a bunch of diabetes-related posts. I’d much rather write about my car or dog.
Dedication Honors Nude Britney Spears Giving Birth
BROOKLYN, NY (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.
And it seems to be a real news article, too. Here’s the art gallery’s site.
So, my question is…
WHY IS EVERYTHING SO WEIRD AND FUCKED UP?
People are weird.
Rice defends US terror policies
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that terror suspects are flown abroad for interrogation, but denied they were tortured.
She said suspects were moved by plane under a process known as rendition, and said this was “a lawful weapon”.
But she refused to address claims that the CIA runs secret prisons abroad where suspects are interrogated without reference to international law.
She then flew to Europe, where she can expect tough questions on the issue.
Her first stop is Germany, where parliament has demanded to know the purpose of more than 400 flights, run by the US military, that landed or passed through German airspace.
She will also visit Romania – where human rights groups allege a detention centre from may have been located – and Brussels, where the EU has written to Washington asking for further details about US flights.
Ms Rice made a robust defence of US policy, reflecting indignation that anyone would accuse it of condoning torture, says the BBC’s Clive Myrie in Washington.
She said the US would use “every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists”, who were often essentially stateless and did not fit into any traditional military or criminal justice system.
“We have had to adapt,” she declared.
But she said the US always respected the sovereignty of allies, abided by the law and did not allow torture.
Our correspondent says Ms Rice’s tour of Europe will probably see her pressing her hosts for more co-operation, and less criticism, in the “war on terror”.
She refused to address the question of secret prisons directly.
“We cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. We expect other nations share this view,” she said in a statement at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
She said renditions had been carried out for decades between the US and its allies.
“Renditions take terrorists out of action, and save lives,” she said. “Such renditions are permissible under international law.”
The secretary of state said European countries often benefited from, and even assisted, US intelligence-gathering.
“The intelligence so gathered has stopped terrorist attacks and saved innocent lives – in Europe as well as in the United States and other countries,” she said.
She said European countries needed to decide what measures were acceptable in defending themselves from terrorism.
“It is up to those governments and their citizens to decide if they wish to work with us to prevent terrorist attacks against their own country or other countries, and decide how much sensitive information they can make public. They have a sovereign right to make that choice.
“So now before the next attack,” she said, “we should all face the hard choices that democratic governments face”.
I find the entire thing sickening and hypocritical. It is fucked up on so many levels. But this is not new information. See Mahar Arar’s personal account of being sent to Syria for torture. Or check out Human Rights Watch on the matter.
Israel-Palestinian truce ‘likely’
Israeli and Palestinian leaders will sign a truce on Tuesday to end four years of fighting, reports say.
The deal will be agreed when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for talks in Egypt on Tuesday, sources say.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said a mutual truce would follow the summit, the highest-level talks between the two sides since the intifada began in 2000.
An unnamed Israeli official confirmed the statement.
“The most important thing at the summit will be a mutual declaration of cessation of violence against each other,” Mr Erekat told the Reuters news agency.
Bush budget seeks deep cutbacks
US President George W Bush has presented his 2006 budget to Congress, cutting 150 domestic programmes in a bid to lower the record US deficit.
The $2.58 trillion (Â£1.38 trillion) budget includes reduction in subsidies to farmers, and lower spending on the environment, education, and health.
The budget document projects the deficit will rise to $427bn this year, before starting to decline.
Military spending will, however, rise 4.8% to $419.3bn in 2006.
The budget does not include the cost of running military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for which the administration is expected to seek an extra $80bn from Congress later this year.
Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
Weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for the Iraqi people and US soldiers, Dahr Jamail went to Iraq to report on the war himself.
His dispatches were quickly recognized as an important media resource and he is now writing for the Inter Press Service, The NewStandard and many other outlets. His reports have also been published with The Nation, The Sunday Herald and Islam Online, to name just a few. Dahr’s dispatches and hard news stories have been translated into Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Indonesian, French, Chinese and Arabic. On the radio, Dahr is a special correspondent for Flashpoints and reports for the BBC, Democracy Now!, and numerous other stations around the globe.
Dahr has spent a total of 8 months in occupied Iraq as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. Dahr uses the DahrJamailIraq.com website and his popular mailing list to disseminate his dispatches.
Be sure to check his site, which includes a weblog updated constantly, news and reports, a forum, as well as a fairly large cache of images from Iraq. The charred remains of civilians that you won’t see on CNN.